Call for action over arson-hit South Shields pub after plans for Heron Foods store fall through

The former Red Duster pub
The former Red Duster pub

Calls have been made for action to bulldoze or transform a derelict pub in South Tyneside that has become a magnet for troublemakers.

The Red Duster, in Whiteleas Way, Whiteleas, South Shields, had been due to be revamped and re-opened as a frozen food store after it was taken over by Heron Foods.

Vandals have made the building a target

Vandals have made the building a target

However, the deal fell through and it is understood another person has purchased the derelict building - but has yet to make any plans as to what the future holds for the property.

In the meantime, councillors say skips filled with rubbish have been left outside the building and the property left insecure attracting troublemakers to the area and turning it into an eyesore.

Earlier this year, firefighters were called to the property when a fire was started inside after vandals forced their way into the building.

Coun Ernest Gibson is calling for action for decisions to be made and action to be taken on the future of the property before “someone is seriously hurt.”

Coun Ernest Gibson

Coun Ernest Gibson

Coun Gibson said: “It is just a nightmare for people living nearby. We want to know what’s happening with the building. There is a small business behind it and it’s not fair.

“Someone needs to come forward and do something with it.

“We are in the dark just as much as everyone else as to what is happening with the building but it is becoming an eyesore.

“If the person who has the building isn’t going to invest in it and turn it into something which is going to benefit the community, then it needs to come down.”

He added: “It’s not fair on the residents and it’s not fair on the person who has a business attached to the premises.

“It is becoming a magnet for troublemakers and it won’t be too long before someone is seriously hurt.”

The Red Duster is one of several traditional ‘estate pubs’ that have closed over the years on estates in South Tyneside.

A number have been converted into shops while others have been demolished to make way for housing.

A spokesperson for South Tyneside Council said: “We contacted the landowner earlier this month to ask him to secure and tidy the site which was done.

“Any concerns about the safety of construction work being undertaken at the site should be reported to the Health and Safety Executive, and any anti-social behaviour issues should be reported to either the Police on 101 or 999 in an emergency or the community wardens on 0191 4203713.”